(Photo by John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports)

Las Vegas–With the best of seven series in the Vegas Golden Knights favor against the San Jose Sharks their top line has stepped up in providing a major dose in spades of offense.

In the opening round of the playoffs vs. the Los Angeles Kings, the Golden Knights top line was held to just a single goal and 6 assists.

The lone goal came from William Karlsson back in the third game of that series in LA where they beat the Kings 3-2.

That was not the case in the second round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs vs. San Jose as the offense has opened up in clinic type fashion from the Golden Knights as they have done some serious damage on the Sharks from the outset of series in the opening game.

Game 1

In game 1 of the series the top line delivered and boy this goal by Jonathan Marchessault get things rolling with a good one to see.

Karlsson and Smith helped set up Marchessault’s first goal of the playoffs as he ended up beating Martin Jones on the short side with a wicked wrister shot.

For Karlsson and Smith they were not done making contributions on the scoresheet for the Golden Knights as both top line forwards teamed up on a man advantage opportunity, making it count for the best goal in the opening game of the series by Alex Tuch.

Tuch took care of the rest on that scoring play taking the Karlsson pass in the neutral zone and broke thru 4 San Jose Sharks players with a burst of speed to beat Jones that gave Vegas the 4-0 lead of the contest.

In the second period of game 1, it was Smith and Marchessault setting up Shea Theodore whose goal led to Jones being chased from his net.

The play was generated off the rush that featured a sweet cross ice feed by Marchessault to Smith and with Theodore in the lead finished the sequence off with a nice backhander over the glove on Jones that made it 5-0 Golden Knights.

3rd period of game 1, Karlsson and Marchessault would connect on Colin Miller‘s goal as Vegas would get rewarded on a 5 on 3 situation vs. San Jose.

With Marchessault leading the scoring sequence, he saw Karlsson with open space down low near the icing line and as the Sharks penalty killers left Miller all alone up top, “Wild Bill” made the pass up to him where he unloaded his heavy one timer that Aaron Dell had no chance at stopping as Vegas put up a 6 spot on San Jose.

The Golden Knights top line meant business in game 1 where at the end of the night posted an impressive 9 point performance (1 goal and 8 assists) that led Vegas to an easy 7-0 victory.

Game 2

In the second game of the series, it was Karlsson front and center for the Golden Knights as he scored not one time but twice.

His first goal of the game came off of a Miller shot that missed the net wide in which bounced off of the end boards where the puck found his stick and from an impossible position fired a sharp angle shot that beat Jones for the 1-0 lead.

The second goal he scored was caused by Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic turning the puck over in San Jose’s end of the ice.

Smith took advantage of Vlasic’s giveaway and connected with Karlsson who fired a snapper from the top of the right face off circle past the glove side low on Jones for a 2-0 Vegas lead in the middle frame of game.

Vegas however, would eventually lose in double overtime to the Sharks 4-3 but Karlsson and Smith did contribute with 3 point night in the loss (2 goals and 1 assist).

Game 3

With last night’s 4-3 victory in the third game of the series in overtime at SAP Center, Vegas’s top line returned to their offensive dominance against the San Jose Sharks.

6:51 remaining into the 2nd period, Marchessault converted for his 2nd goal of the series.

The scoring play was initiated by Smith sending a back pass to Tuch and with plenty of open ice in San Jose’s end, found Marchessault on the left side where he unloaded a one timer shot past Jones for a 2-1 Vegas lead on the 2nd man advantage of the night for the Golden Knights.

On the next goal, Vegas’s top line put some distance between them and the Sharks and it was one that was worth the wait for one member of the Golden Knights in this year’s playoffs.

Marchessault and Karlsson teamed up and played the cycle game on the San Jose and with Smith on the doorstep took a short pass from “Wild Bill” and cashed in with a sweet backhander shot past Jones who left his net exposed for a 3-1 lead, giving #19 his first goal of the playoffs.

This game just like the previous one, needed more than 60 minutes to decide the outcome after San Jose in the third period mounted a comeback with two goals coming from Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl.

Karlsson in the overtime period emerged as the hero of the night for Vegas when he took the pass from James Neal in the neutral zone and he put on the jets and with Sharks defenseman Brent Burns caught playing out of position painted his target and went far side bar down on Jones for the 4-3 victory, taking game 3 of the series.

At the end of game three, the Golden Knights top line posted another powerful performance with a combined 8 points (3 goals and 5 assists).

At this point in the series, the Golden Knights top line has been their most valued asset in the scoring department and I’d expect more of the same from Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith going forward in game 4 tomorrow night as Vegas looks to put a stranglehold on the Sharks.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VegasKOTR

 

Leave a Reply